Thursday, March 3, 2016

Recording issues

Hey Tek-Ninjas! Lately I have been consulting with staff, parents, and students about recording teacher lectures for later studying. There has been a lot of back and forth about what the legalities are.

Before we even jump into that quagmire, let's talk about the efficacy of studying from recorded lectures. When I was an under-grad student as well as a grad student, I recorded lectures for specific classes and studied with them later. They helped augment my notes, and I found them immensely useful.

However, when a parent or teacher ask for such an accommodation for a student, I ask them to consider the learner, and the student's learning style. Does the student struggle attending to lectures? Will they learn without visuals? Will they benefit from or even utilize the recording at a later date? I ask this, because often when listening to the professor, without the visual aid of seeing them move about the classroom, and engage students, I often found myself drifting off and tuning the recording out. So, I raise these concerns to say "let's consider if this will be a useful tool". Will he/she utilize the recording? Or, might there be a better way to share class info, such as sharing student notes?

Assuming it's worth a try, next we have to consider the legalities. Every state seems different, and there even seems to be some differences within school districts.  I encourage you to do some research for your district.

iDevice Options
My understanding, is that according to the Office of Civil Rights, if a student has a 504 plan in place which lists recording devices as an auxiliary aid, the teacher can not deny them. Similarly, if a student has an IEP, the team may determine that recording a class is a reasonable accommodation.

I would add that common courtesy, and the law, dictates that teachers should be informed they are being recorded, and there may be times when teachers ask students to sign "non-sharing" forms, especially at the collegiate level.

Without a 504 Plan or an IEP, legally, a teacher may decline to have their class recorded. However, when presented with the request prior to class, I have never had a teacher say no to me.

Android Options
Once established that it is a good route to go, there are many excellent tools out there for a student to use. One of my favorites is Audio Memos. They offer several different apps for your iDevice or Android. I recommend going with the free version first. Then, if the tool has proven useful, maybe considering one of the upgrades based on your needs.


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